VéroniqueTo Louvain-la-Neuve this evening, to the central library, for the vernissage of a friend’s latest book. Birds are never far away from Véronique Wautier’s poetry, and the title of her latest collection, Là où sont les oiseaux, would seem to confirm that tradition. Interestingly, it is a literal translation of an inscription to be found on the gateway at the entrance to a Japanese shintoist shrine. This is, writes Wautier in an introductory text, ‘belle comme un poème, car là où se posent les oiseaux il n’y a plus ni sacré ni profane, juste leur réconciliation.’ As with her previous collection, Le jour aux ignorants, Wautier’s poetry is accompanied by a set of illustrations, this time by Pierre Mainguet. The words and the images marry well. Above all, Wautier has the poets’ gift of producing striking and original imagery out of familiar words in unfamiliar circumstances, and this collection is rich in them. For example; the ‘muzzle of a book’ (la gueule du livre), ‘winter and his fist’ (l’hiver et son poing), ‘dark light’ (la lumière sera noire) and ‘shipwrecked trees’ (des arbres naufragés).